I highly recommend you read this excellent piece, written by Olivier Delebecque, about a 20ft sailboat called Godot and it’s voyage to the Azores (Link below). The last paragraph is some of the best I have ever come across…
“The observer who remains on the quay always has difficulty in imagining life at sea. He always wraps it in a veil. The more I left the shore, advancing far from the land, the more this passage reduced the fields of interference in my thoughts, I came every day to question the performance, and the clothes of the city disintegrated in tatters. The insignificance of life at sea, my non-existence with regard to the community, cleared up all sorts of unformed intuitions. The world of art and its performers whom I attended assiduously a few weeks before, appeared quite thin and insipid, its magnetism had lost all its power, a fixed circle without movement. Arguments fundamentally opposed: on the one hand the aesthetes and on the other the public, the anonymous; To detect the performance where it was born of itself, this thought became a safe place in my mind and had not left it since Plymouth. It is the same distance that separates performance in art from performance in life which is that of the anonymous, pure performance, non-documented, improvised, without archive, without announcement, without appointment; something calm, non-anthropocentric. ”
I have been following Guy Waites since he crossed the Atlantic in his Contessa 26 Red Admiral. A very admirable feat in a 26ft boat. Recently, he made the same crossing from England to Rhode Island (New York) in a 21ft Corribee named Betsy. During his crossing he capsized and was upside down for the better part of a minute. As a part time couch sailor I think it is important to acknowledge people like Guy and boats like Betsy. The world is flooded with amateur sailors on massive luxury yachts making their way around the world, whilst bombarding the internet with their day to day lives, and the true sailors are rarely noticed.
When I took Gilgarran under my wing her standing rigging was still in a good condition and still is. The only problem, though, is that the stainless cables are a bit short. The previous owner “fixed” this by extending it’s length using several interlocked shackles. Obviously, I don’t feel too good about this.
Last year I got a quote from the best rigging shop is Cape Town to replace all the stainless wire and swages. The price wasn’t too bad, but in true DIY fashion I think I can do it much cheaper.
Dyneema is fairly cheap in Cape Town as it is produced here by a company called Southern Ropes. It is also much stronger than stainless and easier to work with. The only down side, as I see it, is chafe.
Stainless steel corrode and dyneema chafes. I feel much more comfortable being able to see a line chafe than not being able to see stainless corrode within the swage. Nonetheless, it is critical to minimise chafe as much as possible. So I started looking at Antal friction less thimbles.
While I really like the idea of these they are fairly expensive and if I wish to replace all my turnbuckles with dyneema lashings and Antal thimbles it could work out to cost me the same as brand new stainless wire for the whole boat.
On the upside, if I do go with the dyneema lashings I will be able to keep the current standing rigging as the lashings will provide the extra length. Not to mention, when I install my new external chainplates the length lost by the addition of longer spreaders will once again be made up by the lashings.
So as you might have guessed, my mind is made up on the dyneema issue. My only concern is the price of the Antal thimbles. My question is thus (somewhat rhetoric as I think I know the answer): is the Antal thimbles really necessary? Perhaps I can run the dyneema lashings through some stainless shackles instead…